Female genital mutilation and female genital cutting
Originally published in Encyclopedia of Human Rights, David P. Forsythe, ed., New York: Oxford University Press, v.2 (2009), pp.200-213.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or Female Genital Cutting (FGC) refers to a range of harmful traditional practices performed on infants, girls, and women in certain ethnic groups. This article, published in The Encyclopedia of Human Rights (David Forsythe, et al, ed., Oxford University Press, 2009) discusses the practices in the context of international human rights law. FGM-FGC, violates a number of international human rights standards, including the right to bodily integrity, the right to life, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the rights of children, and the rights of women and girls to equality and non-discrimination. Nevertheless, the practices have been difficult to eliminate because they are often deeply-rooted in cultural (but not religious) norms. The article discusses historical and contemporary indigenous and cross-cultural movements to end FGM-FGC.